On Friday, Bike Pittsburgh kicks off its annual BikeFest, a series of biking-themed events that is expanded to 17 days this year and culminates with the 20th anniversary of Pedal Pittsburgh on Aug. 25.
BikeFest, which began in 2005 and highlights Pittsburgh's burgeoning bike community, begins with a party at 8 p.m. Friday at the Pittsburgh Opera, Strip District.
It is followed by the "Lots of Green" bike tour on Saturday, which will take riders through the gardens of Pittsburgh. The "Royal Rumball" on Sunday will take cyclists through the dirt roads of the North Hills, providing rumballs along the way.
The "Public Art Bike Ride" on Tuesday will take riders along the Allegheny Riverfront Trail. The annual bike-in-movie, featuring "Premium Rush" will be shown on the lawn at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Shadyside, at dusk Wednesday.
Arizona-born comic Pablo Francisco, who sprung from Fox's "Madtv," arrives at the Improv, Waterfront, this weekend with his off-the-wall humor and impressions, which can range from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Celine Dion to Howard Stern.
Along with appearing on all the late-night shows and touring worldwide, Mr. Francisco has done two Comedy Central specials -- "They Put It Out There" and "Ouch."
Times are 8 tonight; 8 and 10 p.m. Friday; 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday; and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25; 412-462-5233 or http://pittsburgh.improv.com.
The county fairs get closer to home with the Washington County Agricultural Fair, which opens Sunday and continues through Aug. 17.
Attractions include the fair queen contest (Saturday), a classic car show, doo-wop bands and Zambelli fireworks (Sunday), harness racing (Monday-Tuesday), senior high bands and school bus demolition derby (Wednesday), professional rodeo (Aug. 15) and a demolition derby (Aug. 17).
Among the musical highlights are the bands Refuge (Tuesday) and Silent Partner (Aug. 17), the country band Black Horse (Sunday), and the Southern rock group Joseph Sisters (Aug. 15).
The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is offering rides to the fair at $2 round trip per person (724-228-9256).
Admission is $9; $6 Sunday, Tuesday and Aug. 15; senior citizens 62 and older free Monday. Take I-79 south to exit 41 (Racetrack Road); follow signs to the fairgrounds in Arden; 724-225-7718 or www.washingtonfair.org.
The Butler Farm Show opened Monday and continues through Saturday with daily activities that include shows by Wild World of Animals, magician/comedian Dr. Smart and "moogician" Billy Bob Steinberg.
The grandstand has Figure-8 Races (8 tonight), demolition derby (8 p.m. Friday) and truck pull (7:30 p.m. Saturday)
Performing will be The Wrangler Band (7 and 9 tonight), David Allen and the Roadworks Band (7 and 9 p.m. Friday), a fiddling contest (5 p.m. Saturday) and Diamonds in the Rust (8 p.m. Saturday).
Admission is $8; Take I-79 north to the Evans City exit; follow Route 528 to Route 68. Farm Show grounds are on Route 68, three miles west of Butler; 724-482-4000 or www.butlerfarmshow.com.
Wrong side of the tracks
Organic Theater Pittsburgh offers up the new play "Scarcity," Lucy Thurber's darkly comic exploration of what life is like in America on the wrong side of the tracks. The show, which asks the question, "How far would you go to survive?," is directed by Justin Zeno at The Studio Theatre in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning, Oakland.
Parallel to the production and in partnership with the humanitarian organization Water Step, Organic held readings this week for The Greenhouse Project: A New Play Incubator, from which one play will be selected to be workshopped and receive a full production. Water Step accepts donations of new and gently worn shoes to help fund clean drinking water projects, and Organic Theater Pittsburgh will offer a $5 discount on the cost of "Scarcity" admission to patrons who bring a pair of shoes to be donated.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Aug. 18. Tickets are $20, or $15 for students and seniors, at www.organictheaterpgh.org.
Lt. Dan reporting
Actor Gary Sinise, who portrayed Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump," will be at Stage AE Friday fronting his Lt. Dan Band.
The concert is a benefit to build a customized smart home in Peters for local Marine Sgt. Doug Vitale, who was severely wounded on Sept. 25, 2011, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while leading his squad on patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan. He lost both of his legs above the knee, and the blood loss caused him to suffer two strokes on both sides of his brain before he was stabilized.
Members of the Gary Sinise Foundation, Tunnel to Towers, and a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post are fundraising for the home for Sgt. Vitale, a Kiski Area High School graduate from Vandergift, and his wife, Alexis, who was raised in Peters.
"This week when we celebrate America's freedom, it's important to stop and pay tribute to those who have given the most, like Sgt. Doug Vitale, to ensure that freedom," Mr. Sinise said last month. "I hope the folks in Pittsburgh will attend the Gary Sinise & The Lt. Dan Band benefit concert, where all proceeds will go toward helping Doug reclaim mobility and independence."
The concert is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35, $60 or $150; www.operationdoug.com or 1-800-745-3000.
Sidra Bell dances
Sidra Bell Dance New York returns to Kelly Strayhorn Theater for a weeklong Alloy Residency that culminates in a public performance of its work in progress at The Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Ave., 8 p.m. Friday (Stratford Avenue entrance).
The residency showing includes a complimentary pre-show mixer, an introduction to the work by the artist and a 30-minute performance followed by a discussion. The mixer begins at 7 p.m. This pay-what-you-can event has limited seating. RSVP is required at www.kelly-strayhorn.org.
Westmoreland @rt 30, the long-term temporary location of Westmoreland Museum of American Art while the Main Street building undergoes renovation and expansion, marks its grand opening with a happy hour event from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.
This special edition of the museum's Art on Tap 5.2.7 will include music, scavenger hunts and performance by Shiva Skydiver. You can get a look at the new digs along Route 30 East, in the former Stickley-Audi Furniture building, 1000 Village Drive in Unity Township.
The $15 admission buys a complimentary Westmoreland @rt 30 glass and local bites and brews. Information: 724-837-1500 or www.wmuseumaa.org.
Big George speaks her mind
The New Hazlett Theater's Community Supported Art Performance Series presents "Big George," a solo show written and performed by playwright-poet Kelli Stevens Kane.
Ms. Kane, whose "Hallelujah Science" was selected as a finalist for the 2011 Four Way Books Levis Poetry Prize, has been an August Wilson Center Fellow, is the recipient of a 2011 and '13 Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grant and serves as poetry director for Radio Feebs, a Europe-based Internet radio station. In "Big George," she portrays a character "as funny as she is frank ... a tiny woman with an enormous personality. Big George speaks her mind with a contagious authenticity, even when she's going to complete strangers' funerals."
Tickets for the 8 p.m. performance at the New Hazlett Theater, North Side, are $20 at 412-320-4610, newhazletttheater.org or showclix.com.
Fun at Cedar Creek
August Fun Fest at Cedar Creek Park in Rostraver will feature a car show, an arts and crafts market, food, entertainment and children's activities.
The Vogues, the local oldies group known for the hits "You're the One" and "5 O'Clock World," will perform at noon and 2:30 p.m.
Doc Swan, a juggler, fire-eater and magician and more, performs at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
The car cruise, sponsored by the Road Kings Car Club of Greensburg, is expected to show more than 500 antiques, hot rods, modifieds, stocks, commercials and motorcycles.
Children can receive unlimited access to the petting zoo and carnival, pony and kiddie train rides with a $4 pass.
It will be held from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Admission and parking are free to the public. Information: 724-830-3950.
The Pyrotechnics Guild International is meeting for a weeklong convention at Cooper's Lake Campground near Slippery Rock.
And so there will be fireworks, and they will feature the latest innovations in the industry.
The displays will be Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Aug. 16 at 8:30 p.m. Pre-show celebrations will feature live entertainment and food vendors at 4 p.m. when the parking lots and gates open.
Admission is $35 per carload in advance (up to six individuals per car); $40 at the gate. Information: www.visitbutlercounty.com/events or call 1-866-856-8444.
THE FREE STUFF
• The free Dollar Bank Cinema in the Park series continues with the animated comedy "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" screening tonight in Brookline Memorial Park; Friday in Arsenal Park in Lawrenceville; Saturday in Grandview Park, Mount Washington; and Sunday on Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park, Oakland. Also on Saturday, Riverview Park, Observatory Hill, screens "Lincoln." The films begin at dusk.
• The free County Concert Series features Latin funk band Los Amigos Invisibles at South Park at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Funk band Galactic performs the free show at Hartwood Acres at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
• Elevations performs at the Stars at Riverview Jazz Series in Riverview Park at 7 p.m. Saturday.
• East Winds Symphonic Band plays the free Bach, Beethoven and Brunch series in Mellon Park, Fifth and Shady avenues, Shadyside, from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday.
• The Reservoir of Jazz continues in Highland Park, Highland Avenue and Reservoir Drive, at 5 p.m. Sunday with Jamie Moore.
NEED TO KNOW
• The 64th Annual Fall Fantasy Parades have begun at Kennywood and will run through Aug. 25. More than 150 local high school and college marching bands take part along with themed floats each evening at 8.
• Leon Zionts stars as Tevye in CCAC South Campus Summer Theater's "Fiddler on the Roof," playing through 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The general admission seating $10 at CCAC South, 1750 Clairton Road, West Mifflin. Information: 412-469-6219.
• Altar Bar has a busy weekend with rapper D PRYDE (7 tonight, $20), Kentucky bluegrass-folk-jazz artist Ben Sollee (8 p.m. Friday, $18-$20), and LA alt-rock trio Crash Kings with Nico Vega (7 p.m. Sunday, $15-$17). Information: www.thealtarbar.com.
• The flax to linen process will be demonstrated Sunday at the Oliver Miller Homestead's Summer Flax Fest. There will also be sample needlework on display. It runs from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in South Park. Admission is $2. Information: www.olivermiller.org or 412-835-1554.